2 June 2023 – African Champions Banyana Banyana will face Costa Rica in an international friendly match to be played in Nga Puna Wai Sport Complex in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15 July 2023.
The match will form part of coach Desiree Ellis’ preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July – 20 August 2023.
Ellis said she was happy to be facing a side that has qualified for the World Cup, a team she expects will give her Sasol-sponsored charges a stern test before the tournament gets underway.
“I am really excited to be playing against Costa Rica,” the Banyana Banyana coach told www.safa.net. “This will be our last match before the World Cup starts. They qualified through a tough campaign in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) World Cup qualifiers. So another World Cup-bound team, we’re really looking forward to the match and to be able to just finally, you know, cross our t’s and dot our i’s just before the World Cup starts.”
Banyana Banyana were drawn against Sweden, Italy and Argentina in the World Cup and SAFA CEO Lydia Monyepao said the Costa Ricans will be ideal preparation for what the South African senior women’s national team can expect in Group G.
“The friendly match against Costa Rica is crucial in our preparations for this FIFA Women’s World Cup,” the SAFA CEO said.
“We are aiming higher in this tournament, and the rehearsal against Costa Rica will give us an idea on one of our group opponents, Argentina.”
Coach Ellis’ charges, who won women’s football’s biggest prize on the continent after they beat Morocco in the WAFCON final in 2022, will be appearing in the global event for the second time in a row following their debut in France in 2019.
“We wish the Banyana Banyana team the best of luck on their friendly match against Costa Rica, which we believe will give our team good practice just before they compete on the world stage. We also call on all South Africans to continue to send their messages of support to Banyana Banyana via WhatsApp at 072 603 7325 or USSD by dialling *120*676#. Let us all remember that as South Africans, our support will give the team all the energy they require to push hard at all their upcoming matches, including this friendly match. And to Banyana Banyana, go live the impossible in Australia and New Zealand! Sasol is behind you all the way,” said Nozipho Mbatha, Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorship.